Walt Disney World recently announced a huge addition to the ESPN Wide World of Sports complex and I don't believe the human race is really comprehending the genius of the decision to its fullest potential.
They are building an 8,000-seat venue made specifically for cheerleading and dance competitions. The building will be able to hold four different performance locations at a time, backstage and warm-up areas, judging stations, and concessions. They also mentioned that it could be used for concerts and other sports in the future.
When I read the initial announcement, my head exploded. I had to clean up the confetti... it was a mess. The timing couldn't have been more perfect since we are in the midst of competitive cheerleading season (just a few weeks ago, WDW held the National High School Cheerleading Championship, so a LOT of bows could be seen around the parks).
This is, in my eyes, one of the best investments Disney has ever made. I know some of you see that as a super big claim for a super small investment, but hear me out.
Disney owns cheerleading. Not literally, but they are the epicenter of cheerleading. Every major cheerleading competition is held at the ESPN WWOS. Imagine having the Super Bowl, World Series and Stanley Cup games all in one place. That's the equivalent of the amount of top-tier cheer competitions at Disney World. High School, College and All-Star cheer all hold their "Super Bowls" at the complex.
So now, if they have their own specific venue to hold and support the sport, the first in the world might I add, the sport's ties to WDW become even tighter. They are now guaranteed to always come to the resort, and when cheerleaders come to the WDW, they do it right.
You may be trying to book a vacation in April or May to the parks and one random weekend in each month will have the All-Star Resorts completely sold-out, it's because there is a cheer competition. They take over the hotels and leave no prisoners. Any large piece of land they utilize for practice. They relax at the pool. They swarm the food courts.
Basically they are a money making machine. A single cheer competition means thousands of park tickets (not only for the cheerleaders themselves, but their families too, as they tend to bring their whole family due to the location), thousands of hotel rooms (most of them always staying on property...they are more brand loyal than Annual Passholders), and millions of food purchases (enough to end world hunger).
I know as of late, cheerleading has become this annoyance/joke at Disney World due to its abundance, but can you blame them for embracing the sport? I am a huge cheerleading fan (*crowd sighs* WE KNOW *crowd walks away in disgust*), so this announcement excites me to no end. I'm hoping the rest of the Disney company will wake up and realize how lucrative this sport is and utilize it in their works (A Freeform cheerleading show is coming in the Summer and I CANNOT WAIT).
Until then, I'll be memorizing all the Clovers' cheers from Bring It On.